It’s Complicated: Why It Wasn’t as Obvious as It Seems Like It Should Have Been

by JourneyOne thing I struggle with, as I painfully write some of the facts of my QF Patriarchal Marriage, is that the abuse wasn't as obvious as you might think. I'd venture to say that 99.9% of the people we were around had no clue. I always get a kick out of how most patriarchy supporters speak up so quickly about how they are "opposed to abuse." Are they really? Abuse always seems so stark, so obviously abusive, when you *read* about it, but in real life? Generally, not so much. For example, Mark's abusive and strange behaviors are crystal clear, the way I've written the story for NLQ, but in real life, it wasn't as easy as all that. I think that, in real life, it's never like … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Old-Girl in Young-Girl Disguise

by Sierra“What did you think?” My mother asked, as our blue Chevrolet rolled smoothly out of the parking lot, mingling with more expensive cars on a fresh-paved freeway.“I liked it,” responded seven-year-old I. “I actually listened.”We were talking about our first visit to Anna and Sven’s church, an informal affair that gathered weekly in the upper annex of a suburban YMCA. The church had begun in the pastor’s living room, hosting only two or three families. Over the next few years it had grown to six or seven. The pastor and his wife had six children, the youngest still a newborn. They’d welcomed a new child every two years since their eldest.Church wasn’t a new experience for me. … [Read more...]

"Go to Oregon and build an ark"

by JourneyMark said we were going to move to Oregon.  I didn’t want to move to Oregon (I hated the rain), and I told him so, but that didn’t matter.  He had heard from God.  More specifically, he had heard God tell him to, "Go to Oregon and build an ark."  What that meant, we did not know, but Mark had heard it quite clearly.  I wasn't about to argue with God.  The strange thing was that Mark regularly mocked people who "heard from God" about things.  He felt that spiritual gifts were generally abused, and that God didn't speak as much as people thought He did.  It bothered him how our mildly-charismatic church used spiritual gifts.  He thought it was indecent and uncontrolled, that t … [Read more...]

Patriarchy Across Cultures: What It’s Like To Sing The Blues

 by TapatiGod forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes 'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues--EverlastPreviously we had just received word that Mike’s mom had passed away. Mike wanted to go to her funeral but we were broke. We called his dad. It turned out he was nearby and he offered to take us to Chicago in his van. John said he felt bad for not being there while his son was growing up and that this was the least he could do. So we let Mike’s grandma Emma know we were on our way and drove off, all five of us crammed into their aging van, determined to make it to Chicago in three days, just in time for the services.We headed up through Nevada to High … [Read more...]

Patriarchy Acoss Cultures: From Generation to Generation

by Tapati    Grandpa Glen and Grandma Velma TallmanMy mother sounds like a horrible person as I write about her blocking my efforts to leave home, hitting me, and subsiding into depression and suicide. Of course there remains a stigma associated with mental illness and it’s difficult for most people to find compassion for people who act out when their illness is poorly managed. In the 1970s there weren’t any really good anti-depressants on the market and the ones offered to my mom came with some hefty side effects. Psychotherapy also wasn’t as sophisticated. I wonder how she would have responded to modern therapies but I can never know.Mom didn’t develop her illness in a vacuum. There i … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 4

by JourneyWhen I shut off my brain and became willing to do whatever Mark said, he was delighted. Absolutely delighted. And everything changed. Everything. The first thing he did was give me a list on how I was to clean the bathroom. I had daily chores and weekly chores from him, down to minute details.I remember the first day I followed his list. I was humiliated. It was as if I was a child again and he was the parent. I told him that, too (in a humbled and submissive way, of course) and he smiled and said, “Exactly. Your parents did a terrible job of raising you when it comes to cleaning, and now God has given you to me so that I can raise you and help you become the way you s … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 3

by JourneyAnother problem, a major problem, but one that I felt so guilty for, was that my husband was seeing another woman, and that woman was the Bible. Mark was obsessed with the Bible. I remember feeling so guilty for hating the Bible because, you know, a good Christian shouldn’t hate the Bible, right? Here I was, at Bible College, and casting dirty looks at the Bible. I felt like it was no different from him taking a lover, or being an addict, because he would read it non-stop.He didn’t want to eat dinner together. He would come home from work and class and then go into our spare bedroom and study the Bible until late into the night. I would lay there at night and quietly cry … [Read more...]

Vegetarian for God

by Tapati  A typical Indian-inspired meal at our houseI am often asked why I’m still a vegetarian if I left the Hare Krishna Movement. The only way some people can make sense of being a vegetarian for thirty five years is if religious conviction is involved. It is rare to find a vegetarian for health reasons abstaining as strictly. Don’t we all lapse from our commitment to do certain things for our health? Who avoids sugar all the time, even when they’ve made a promise or a New Year’s Resolution?My own vegetarianism came more from my upbringing on my grandparents’ farm than just from a rule given to me by ISKCON. While that helped me make the final commitment, I was thinking about b … [Read more...]

Anything you can do, I can do in a skirt!

by SierraYoung women following the patriarchal doctrine of William Branham’s “Message of the Hour” liked to refer to themselves as the “skirt girls.” Skirts and dresses were the only attire sufficiently modest and feminine for young ladies raised in the shadow of the prophet. Hemlines had to fall below the knees – and stay below them when the wearer was sitting down. Hair often besieged the knees from above, making them a kind of modesty battleground that should never, ever catch a gleam of daylight. Tanned knees were the mark of a harlot. As a little girl, I didn’t mind it much. I was convinced that my wrinkly knees were unsightly and ought to be hidden in the first place. What was I com … [Read more...]

Shutting Off My Brain ~ Part 2

by JourneyWhen we got back from our honeymoon, it was so exciting to set up our new apartment on our Bible College campus. The "married dorms" seemed so big and grown-up, and I put those thoughts about our honeymoon behind me...until Mark told me the news that “God” had told him I needed to give away my car.He said were going to be a one-car couple, and that one car was going to be his old van. This was brand new news to me. I was shocked. What? I tried to bargain with him, but he would hear none of it. Again, he was the male, therefore the one who was supposed to be the “leader,” so though I pleaded, I had no choice but to do what he wanted.The books and the teachings all sai … [Read more...]


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